Chandigarh Ramlila goes virtual in fight against Ravana & Corona
Ordnance Cable Factory (OCF) Sanskritik Manch, which stages Ramlila in Sector 29 has uploaded episodes on YouTube and Facebook so that people can watch it from the safety of their homes amid the pandemic.Updated: Oct 18, 2020, 23:44 IST
With Covid-19 posing a new set of challenges, the Ordnance Cable Factory (OCF) Sanskritik Manch, which stages Ramlila in Sector 29, has turned to technology to take on Ravana and the pandemic in one go.
The group’s artistes have already started shooting and uploading Ramlila episodes on YouTube and Facebook.
OCF’s general secretary Rajiv Sharma said this way, devout audiences won’t have to miss out on the performance and they can watch it from the safety of their homes amid the pandemic.
Jyoti Bhardwaj, who plays the role of Ravana in this Ramlila, said that their troupe was already familiar with the lines and had the costumes and props from previous years, so they decided to put together the production for a virtual audience.
“We will be uploading around seven to eight episodes, of 20-25 minutes each, depicting the important moments in Ramlila. The first episode is already out and we have amassed over 1,500 views for it.”
Bhardwaj added that they are using a pair of DSLR cameras to shoot the Ramlila. It is being shot on the stage of their Ramlila ground in Sector 29-A. His son Chirayu Bhardwaj is editing the videos and posting it online.
Many organisers still wary
Despite getting permission from the administration, many organisers are still wary of going ahead with the performances. Chandigarh Kendriya Ramleela Mahasabha president Bhagwati Prashad Gaur said that even though almost all of the 50-60 Ramlila associations in the city have got permission from authorities, only a handful have started staging the shows. “Sectors 7, 20, 22 30, 46 and Manimajra are holding Ramlilas but the other organisations are still hesitant. Most Ramlilas have people with government jobs and they are worried that any violation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) may land them in trouble.”
Houseful at some places
The Sector 20 Azaad Dramatic Club entered the second day of their Ramlila performance on Sunday. Ashok Choudhary, who plays the role Ravana here, says, “We have around 200 seats, which are already beginning to fill up. Ramlilas usually draw lean crowds in the initial few days, but since many of our neighboring Ramlilas aren’t being organised this year, we are drawing big crowds from the other sectors too,” he said.
Director of the Navyug Ramlila and Dusshera Committee Sector 7, Pardeep Kumar, said he has been organising the Ramlila from October 14, right after the group got the permissions. However with donations going down this year, they have been struggling. “Due to delay in permissions, we did not have time to collect donations for the Ramlila this year. In addition to it, the cost of sanitising the premises and ensuring the SOPs also costs a lot of money. So, we urge the administration to help us with the sanitising bit.”